Sediment sources and connectivity linked to hydrologic pathways and geomorphic processes: A conceptual model to specify sediment sources and pathways through space and time
Sediment connectivity is a framework for transfer and storage of sediment among different geomorphic compartments across upland and channel network of the catchment sediment cascade. Sediment connectivity and dysconnectivity (i.e., source delivery and storage processes) are linked to the water cycle and hydrologic systems with the associated multiscale interactions with climate, soil, topography, ecology, and landuse/landcover under natural variability and human intervention. We review the sediment connectivity concept and frameworks developed in the last few decades to examine and quantify water and sediment transfer in catchment systems. Past conceptual models of connectivity have attempted to integrate multiple processes into sediment domain, including geomorphic, hydrologic, and ecological processes (i.e., “holistic approach to connectivity”). In particular, multiple studies highlight the importance of sediment and water interaction in defining landscape connectivity. There are also efforts to quantify the topographic controls on sediment connectivity, in the advent of increasingly high-resolution digital terrain models. More recent modeling efforts have integrated structural and functional connectivity through coupling topographic information with hydrologic simulation models. Though this recent modeling development is encouraging, a comprehensive sediment connectivity framework that integrates geomorphic and hydrologic processes across spatiotemporal scales is yet to be conceived. Such an effort will require understanding the governing hydrologic and geomorphic processes that control sediment source, storage, and transport. A conceptual model is proposed to describe dominant hydrologic-sediment connectivity regimes through spatial-temporal feedbacks between hydrologic processes (rainfall, flow routing, and water residence time) and geomorphic drivers (upland soil erosion and deposition, and geomorphic channel erosion and deposition response). Recent advancements in landscape monitoring techniques using geochemical tracers, remote-sensing, increasing availability of hydrologic monitoring data, and the integration of various analytic methods (e.g., isotopic hydrograph separation, stormflow concentration-discharge, hysteretic behavior analysis) have the potential to broaden the spatial and temporal scales of geomorphic observations and understanding of landscape sediment connectivity. Using the conceptual model as a “thinking” space, we examine sediment and hydrologic interactions in real world examples of watershed studies using multiple lines of evidence and modeling techniques.
|Sediment sources and connectivity linked to hydrologic pathways and geomorphic processes: A conceptual model to specify sediment sources and pathways through space and time
|Se Jong Cho, Diana Karwan, Katherine Skalak, James Pizzuto, Max Huffman
|USGS Publications Warehouse
|WMA - Earth System Processes Division